My scientific interests are in the field of machine learning and inference from empirical data. In particular, I study kernel methods for extracting regularities from possibly high-dimensional data. These regularities are usually statistical ones, however, in recent years I have also become interested in methods for finding causal structures that underly statistical dependences. I have worked on a number of different applications of machine learning - in our field, you get "to play in everyone's backyard." Most recently, I have been trying to play in the backyard of astronomers and photographers.
With the growing interest in (how to make money with) big data, machine learning has significantly gained in popularity. We have published an article in the German newspaper FAZ, discussing some of the implications. Disclaimer: the text that appears above our names was neither written nor approved by us.
M.Sc. in mathematics and Lionel Cooper Memorial Prize, University of London (1992)
Diplom in physics (Tübingen, 1994)
doctorate in computer science from the Technical University Berlin (1997); thesis on Support Vector Learning (main advisor: V. Vapnik, AT&T Bell Labs) won the annual dissertation prize of the German Association for Computer Science (GI)
If you'd like to contact me, please consider these two notes:
1. I recently became co-editor-in-chief of JMLR. I work for JMLR because I believe in its open access model, but it takes a lot of time. During my JMLR term, please don't convince me to do other journal or grant reviewing duties.
2. I am not very organized with my e-mail so if you want to apply for a position in my lab, please send your application only to Sekretariat-Schoelkopf@tuebingen.mpg.de. Note that we do not respond to non-personalized applications that look like they are being sent to a large number of places simultaneously.
We are always happy to receive outstanding applications for PhD positions and postdocs.
Adaptive Behavior, 3(3):311-348, January 1995 (article)
This article presents a scheme for learning a cognitive map of a maze from a sequence of views and movement decisions. The scheme is based on an intermediate representation called the view graph, whose nodes correspond to the views whereas the labeled edges represent the movements leading from one view to another. By means of a graph theoretical reconstruction method, the view graph is shown to carry complete information on the topological and directional structure of the maze. Path planning can be carried out directly in the view graph without actually performing this reconstruction. A neural network is presented that learns the view graph during a random exploration of the maze. It is based on an unsupervised competitive learning rule translating temporal sequence (rather than similarity) of views into connectedness in the network. The network uses its knowledge of the topological and directional structure of the maze to generate expectations about which views are likely to be encountered next, improving the view-recognition performance. Numerical simulations illustrate the network's ability for path planning and the recognition of views degraded by random noise. The results are compared to findings of behavioral neuroscience.
(7), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics Tübingen, November 1994, This technical report has also been published elsewhere (techreport)
We present a scheme for learning a cognitive map of a maze from a sequence of views and movement decisions. The scheme is based on an intermediate representation called the view graph. We show that this representation carries sufficient information to reconstruct the topological and directional structure of the maze. Moreover, we present a neural network that learns the view graph during a random
exploration of the maze. We use a unsupervised competitive learning rule which translates temporal sequence (rather than similarity) of views into connectedness in the network. The network uses its knowledge of the topological and directional structure of the maze to generate expectations about which views are likely to be perceived
next, improving the view recognition performance. We provide an additional mechanism which uses the map to find paths between arbitrary points of the previously explored environment. The results are compared to findings of behavioural neuroscience.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems